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Logwood is another well known dye used for its black, purple, blue and brown colors. It has been in use for 4 centuries. It was discovered in the Yucatan Peninsula and Northern Belize. Conflicts and wars developed between Spain and Britain for control of the Logwood dye market and its exportation to Europe from the Americas. In English, the dye derives its name from the 400 lb logs of wood that were shipped back to Europe to extract the dye.

This is a dye that needs to be prepared in conjunction with a different set of mordants than the aluminum and tartar I prefer using (less toxic.) With aluminum as the mordant, the dye was known to quickly turn to gray. To ensure the permanence of the dye´s color metals like iron, copper, chrome and tin are the recommended mordants to set the dye on the fabric.


The results are very striking and I did use all the various mordants recommended with this dye. Iron produces strong and dark purples. Copper produces brighter purples with a bluish cast. Chrome was used with Logwood historically for browns in the textile industry. Tin increases the vibrancy of the color and softens the fabric.

This is a sample of the results from my work.

Following the preparation of the dogwood dye baths with the respective mordants, I went ahead and used the same dogwood solutions to tint the scarves I had dyed with the Cosmos flower (golden,) eucaliptus bark (taupe,) hibiscus flower (yellow) and brazilwood (magenta and pink.) I made a series of knots on the fabric following the Shibori technique and tie dye designs. Here’s a sample from this second exercise of creating a combination of dye colors onto the fabric.

I will make available on Etsy the wearable art I design using natural dyes.

In upcoming posts, I will write about the paintings in the  “Wheel within a Wheel” series.